Can rats be clicker trained or trained to come when called?



Can rats be clicker trained or trained to come when called?

Rats are often misunderstood creatures, commonly associated with filth and disease. However, these small rodents can actually be intelligent and affectionate pets when properly trained and cared for. In fact, rats are highly trainable and can be taught a variety of tricks and commands, including responding to a clicker and coming when called. In this article, we will explore the possibilities of clicker training and recall training for rats, debunk common misconceptions, and provide tips for successful training.

Understanding Clicker Training for Rats

Clicker training is a positive reinforcement method that utilizes a small device called a clicker to mark desired behaviors. The clicker emits a distinctive sound that serves as a signal to the rat, indicating that they have performed the desired action correctly. By pairing the click sound with a reward, such as a treat or praise, the rat learns to associate the click with positive reinforcement, making it easier to train them in various tasks.

Benefits of Clicker Training for Rats

Clicker training has numerous advantages when it comes to training rats. Firstly, it is a gentle and humane method that does not involve any physical force or punishment. This positive approach helps build trust and strengthens the bond between the rat and their owner. Additionally, clicker training allows for precise timing and clear communication, which enhances the learning process and accelerates the rat's progress.

Steps to Clicker Train a Rat

1. Introduce the clicker: Begin by associating the click sound with a reward. Click the device and immediately offer a treat to the rat. Repeat this several times until the rat starts to recognize the click as a positive signal.

2. Choose a target behavior: Decide on the specific behavior you want to train your rat, such as standing on hind legs or touching a specific object. Start with simple actions and gradually progress to more complex behaviors.

3. Capture the behavior: When the rat naturally performs the desired behavior, immediately click the clicker and reward them. This helps the rat understand that the behavior is desirable and increases the likelihood of them repeating it in the future.

4. Shape the behavior: If the rat does not exhibit the desired behavior naturally, you can shape it by breaking it down into smaller steps. Click and reward each small approximation of the behavior until the rat eventually achieves the desired action.

5. Practice and reinforce: Consistency is key in clicker training. Practice the behavior regularly and reinforce it with rewards each time the rat successfully performs the action. Gradually reduce the frequency of rewards as the behavior becomes more consistent.

Recall Training for Rats

In addition to clicker training, rats can also be trained to come when called. Recall training is particularly useful for ensuring the rat's safety and establishing a strong bond between the pet and their owner.

Steps to Train a Rat to Come When Called

1. Choose a cue: Decide on a specific word or sound that will serve as the cue for your rat to come. It can be something simple like their name or a distinct whistle.

2. Associate the cue with positive experiences: Whenever you use the chosen cue, make sure to pair it with something enjoyable for the rat, such as a treat or playtime. This helps create a positive association with the cue.

3. Start in a controlled environment: Begin training in a quiet and familiar space with minimal distractions. Call your rat using the cue and reward them when they come to you. Repeat this process multiple times until the rat starts responding consistently.

4. Gradually increase difficulty: Slowly introduce distractions and train in different environments to generalize the behavior. Practice recall training during play sessions or when the rat is engaged in exploring their surroundings.

5. Maintain consistency and reinforce the behavior: Regularly reinforce the recall behavior by rewarding the rat with treats, praise, or playtime. Consistency and positive reinforcement will strengthen the rat's response to the recall cue.

Debunking Common Misconceptions

Contrary to popular belief, rats are clean animals that groom themselves regularly. They can also be trained to use a litter box, similar to cats. While some people may have concerns about rats being carriers of diseases, with proper care and hygiene practices, the risk of disease transmission is minimal.


Rats are highly trainable creatures that can be clicker trained and taught to come when called. Through positive reinforcement methods like clicker training and recall training, owners can develop a strong bond with their pet rats while also providing mental stimulation and enrichment. Remember, consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are the keys to successful training. If you're considering rats as pets, don't forget to explore the various resources and products available at nbcpet, a trusted provider of pet supplies.

Julieth Bill

Hi, I'm Julieth Bill. Before I was a writer for the blog I was known for inventive and unusual treatments of dogs, cats, bird, fish, snakes, horses, rabbit, reptiles, and guinea pigs. Julieth worked for major zoos around the world. He Also Receives Pets a Scholarship.

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